Exposure by Tracy Ewens #BookReview

Exposure def

What’s it about?

If only life were as simple as smiling for the camera.

After years of braving the Arctic’s frigid temperatures or endless hours tracking the Spirit Bear to capture the perfect shot for National Geographic, Meg Jeffries decides to move back to the city—San Francisco. She wants a life with more stability. The kind that lets her see her family more than once a year and comes with owning a toaster or a full-sized tube of toothpaste. But creating her new “ normal” is not without its obstacles. Meg is confident and successful behind a camera. A little extra publicity can’t change that… until it does.

Westin Drake is famous for fast cars and box office sales. Yet he’s a terrible driver and secretly hopes his fifteen minutes is almost up. West moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco, looking for some substance and time near his family. But now that the buzz of his next film, Full Throttle – Floor It, is hitting maximum fervor, West keeps everyone at arm’s length so he can protect the people he loves… until he can’t.

When the public mistakes a simple kiss on the cheek for a budding romance, Meg and West are caught in a media frenzy. Somewhere amid the backseat getaways and plastered smiles, Meg discovers the man behind the glossy photographs, and West wonders how he’ll ever let her go once the cameras stop rolling. Love is never simple, especially when the world’s watching. How much are two people willing to expose for a chance at a true happily ever after?

amazon uk amazon com

Review

star three and a half

Throw two opposites together and you get.. a very enticing story. The people in this story are two sides of a coin, she is used to being free, alone, breathing in fresh air, he is used to the flash of the cameras wherever he is. Can you see the hurdle there? OK I could spot it a mile away but what’s life (in books) without a little drama, too damn easy I’d say. So I’m not complaining that there were maybe-probably-definitely some big choices to be made here. I was very curious to see how their interest in each other was going to develop… would they give love a chance when it would also imply that one of them had to make a life-changing choice. Were they going to make it? I wouldn’t bet any money on it when I started to read this anyway but you never know…

Meg has led the most interesting life looking through her camera lens, capturing the most amazing wildlife in faraway countries. Reading about her encounters with bears etc made me just dream away. West is an A-list actor and in a few months he’ll shoot movie number 5 of the Full Throttle series. He’s more than a pretty face though even if nobody is interested in that.

She’s been living her life in her own little bubble so Meg doesn’t know who he is when she meets him at the Climate Wellness Symposium where she’s the key speaker and he has to introduce her. They hit it off right away and they’ll be seeing each other a lot more when they make a business deal for the presentation of more climate awareness projects together. They start to really like each other’s company but is there really a future for them ahead when they lead so very different lives?

She: Do I look polished? (..) He: No. (…) She: What image do I project then?

Spring, he thought, or the rich colors of the hills afer a deep all-dry rain. She looked alive and somehow despite her work, she didn’t notice the world could be a dreary place. 

Probably best to keep that to himself.

She’s like a breath of fresh air for him and I can totally see the appeal of this strong and independent woman. He – I like to think he reminds me of Paul Walker – is a good guy who has an eye for detail and appreciates the art in the city. Yes he’s a celebrity and has bodyguards and all that but he comes from a normal family and maintaining a level of normality and looking after his family still mean everything to him.

This was an enjoyable and sweet romance but I didn’t have any heart-melting moments like I always have with my number one author. It was great to see them bond at one moment over the fact that they’re both the youngest of the family. There were definitely some highlights in the story and I really liked that they found redeeming qualities in each other and it wasn’t just a flash of physical attraction, but I still wasn’t swooned by their story like I wanted. I think it was a good read overall but it isn’t a really memorable one for me.

This novel was included in my one-month subscription Bookworm box (May edition) and this is my honest opinion.

Advertisements

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman #BookReview

 Eleanor Oliphant def

What’s it about?

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend. Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?

amazon uk amazon com

Review

5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars_1457015727_81_246_96_2

I knew it, I knew it, I just knew I was going to love this one. I was drawn to this novel like a moth to a flame. This was a story that I really wanted to discover myself when I saw the reviews and I already had a feeling this was going to be an exceptional read before I even read the first page. Call it intuition, ok call it luck then, but I was right anyway, I was well and truly hooked by the story. It’s going to be impossible to keep this review short, I just have so much to ramble about. I’m not even sorry :-).

I don’t know if Eleanor Oliphant’s surname was chosen with this in mind or was just meant to be quirky in analogy with Eleanor’s character, but in Dutch we have a saying about people acting like a bull in a China Shop, only the animal used in Dutch is in fact an elephant. That is exactly how I was thinking about Eleanor as well and why I think her name fit her so well. She’s so otherworldly, her world is structured and timed and she doesn’t have a filter to what she’s saying, she’s so socially inept. It’s funny sometimes, painful at other times. It really helped to cement my warm feelings and sympathies for her and I even started to think she might very well be on the autism spectrum. I felt a strange kinship and saw a piece of me in her too on some levels, it was easy to connect, even if she feels a bit bourgeois by the way that she’s talking. Her sentences were eloquent and sophisticated and there was a moment in the beginning that I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to enjoy this style, but I adapted and while it might not work for me in another novel, I felt her speech was in line with her character here as well, especially bearing in mind we are talking about a person who doesn’t even use abbreviations in e-mails and is unfamiliar with common social interaction.

She’s got everything under control but is she really? She buys vodka every weekend and talks to her house plant so I wasn’t sure about that. The only person who comes by is the social worker twice a year and the gas meter guy. She also talks to her mother on the phone one time every week. Her mother is ‘locked up’ somewhere and it’s clear that she’s an abusive person.

Sometimes you don’t know what you’re missing until it is there and that’s exactly what the author shows through the interactions with Raymond, a work colleague who doesn’t give up on her. When they come to the rescue when a pedestrian falls in the street, she agrees to meet him at the hospital and this is the start of plenty more interactions, slowly developing a friendship and broadening her small world. It was great to see her grow and discover the world like this, seeing the world through Eleanor’s eyes was so fascinating. That is really the word that captures her character perfectly, Eleanor was utterly fascinating to follow.

Gail Honeyman put so much effort into Eleanor’s character, she’s so defined and so true and honest, that my heart really went out for her. Eleanor gives herself a little make-over and her shenanigans were quite endearing to read but she doesn’t only get a make-over on the outside. Eleanor’s world shifted when she met Raymond and she grows stronger every day. This novel is a heart-warming story, funny and sad because yes there is a tragic backstory that ‘ll move you without a doubt. A story about coming to terms with the past and moving on.

I can’t believe this is a debut novel really. The beautiful cover, the perfect title, the brilliant writing, it all just works together in the best way possible. Apart from the warning that the author wrote half of the novel in a literary style which took some getting used to, there’s absolutely nothing you won’t like about this novel.

Many many thanks to my wonderful blog friend Anne for sending me her proof paperback copy. This is my honest opinion.

This Love by Dani Atkins

This Love def

What’s it about?

Sophie stopped believing in happy endings a long time ago, but could this love change all of that?

Sophie Winter lives in a self-imposed cocoon – she’s a single, 31-year-old translator who works from home in her one-bedroom flat. This isn’t really the life she dreamed of, but then Sophie stopped believing in dreams when she was a teenager and tragedy struck her family.

So, to be safe, she keeps everyone at arm’s length. Sophie understands she has a problem, but recognising it and knowing how to fix it are two entirely different things.

One night a serious fire breaks out in the flat below hers. Sophie is trapped in the burning building until a passer-by, Ben, sees her and rescues her.

Suddenly her cocoon is shattered – what will be the consequences of this second life-changing event?

You can buy a copy of this novel on Amazon UK | Amazon US.

Review

5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars_1457015727_81_246_96_2

Real heroes do exist! This is just the most perfect romance novel, filled with emotion!

This book opened with a bang. I personally love the damsel in distress theme (it’s so me) and this is exactly what you’re going to get here. It feels like this novel was written especially for me! This Love starts with some very tense chapters with Sophie being trapped in her appartment while there’s a fire raging in the building on the floor below hers. The situation felt authentically tense and dangerous and I’m pretty confident this author could have a go at the thriller genre and write a bestseller. I was very happy her witty remarks also relieved some of the tension because I’m not sure my heart would have survived otherwise; I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry while she was trying to escape. That’s the first time I could feel I was in for an emotional read.

When Sophie gets out safe to the ground she’s rushed off to the hospital; she didn’t even get a chance to thank Ben properly for his involvement in her escape. She assumes she’ll never see him again but of course something brings them back together again and again and the blossoming of their love was so beautiful to witness, it filled my heart. Ben is perfect, he’s humorous, he’s caring… He goes out looking for Fred, her cat, without her knowing, for hours, so who’s not going to love a man like that? Sophie isn’t looking for love though…

I had inadvertently opened a door to allow him a glimpse of a room that very few people ever entered. I really wanted to shut it again, right now, only he had one of his big old size twelve feet in the way, blocking me.

They become best of friends and are growing closer together day by day, but then suddenly when he has his friends over, he can’t get her out of the room fast enough. Did she read him wrongly and will she admit to herself what she’s feeling? Can she get over her feelings of fear for the future because what if he would leave her too, like that other person she loved and was so brutally taken away from her?

Sophie we’re all going to die… eventually. No one can alter that. It’s what you do before that counts. No one should be remembered for how they died. But how you lived… well, that’s something that shouldn’t ever be forgotten.

My heart shuddered quite a few times while reading this novel, it ballooned, almost spilled and was punctured more than once too. It was a joy to get to know Ben, Sophie and all of Ben’s wonderful friends. Even if you think you know where this novel is hurtling to and you think you’ve got it all under control, piece of cake, well you’re wrong, so wrong. If you’re really emphatic you’re going to feel it SO hard.

If you want a tear-jerker, look no further because this book will have you laughing and crying and ultimately leave you with a major book-hangover!

This Love is perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes and Colleen Hoover. I’ve found myself a new favourite author!

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher Simon & Schuster in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Tattered Gloves by J.L. Berg

tattered-gloves-def

What’s it about?

Head down.
Don’t look up.
Never make eye contact.

Those were the words I lived by growing up, the words that protected me in an unsafe home. But words are only letters and eventually even they couldn’t keep his hands off me.

Hoping to leave behind the shattered life of my past, I find myself in a boring, small town, with an aunt I’ve never met and at a school I loathe.

But soon I learn, not everything in this world is as black and white as I’ve determined. Sometimes those we are so quick to judge often need a second, third or even fourth time to make a first impression.

And often, there are friendships and even love waiting just around the corner, if we are brave enough to take the first step.

Am I brave?

Or will I hide behind these tattered gloves of mine forever?

You can buy a copy of this novel on Amazon UK | Amazon US | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo

Add THE TATTERED GLOVES to your to be read shelf on Goodreads!

Find out as soon as THE TATTERED GLOVES goes up for sale on other retailers by subscribing to J.L. Berg’s newsletter!

Watch the Trailer:

About J.L. Berg

J.L. Berg is the USA Today bestselling author of the Ready Series, The Walls Duet, and the Lost & Found Duet. She is a California native living in the beautiful state of historic Virginia. Married to her high school sweetheart, they have two beautiful girls that drive them batty on a daily basis. When she’s not writing, you will find her with her nose stuck in a romance novel, in a yoga studio or devouring anything chocolate. J.L. Berg is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Newsletter

My review

5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars_1457015727_81_246_96_2

To tell you the truth, when I saw the cover of this novel my heart was already partly won over, I love it! I’m extremely happy to say that it really didn’t take very long to fall in love with the story too.

This story was excellently written, it has tragedy but also warm friendship and love. In the end this is a hopeful book with a positive message that made me feel good. You wouldn’t think so at first but ultimately this proved to turn into story about bravery. The touch of romance, so sweet, so pure, was a lovely addition that had me swooning big time.

Willow is 16 years old when she’s being shipped off to live in a little town called Sugar Tree (what’s in a name?) with an aunt she knew nothing about. Her mother never loved her like a mother should. Willow’s life with her mother was really sad to read about, and it became even more obvious in later memories how bad it was. She already had to act as an adult when she should have been taken care of.

That’s all about to change when she moves in with her aunt Addy who’ll act more like a mother than she’s ever known. It was obvious from the moment they met that it could only go upwards from thereon and the aunt was nothing but sweet and the exact opposite from her mother, but even so Willow was in full self-protection mode. When she arrives she keeps everyone around her at a distance, quite literally. Fortunately, she has Addy and Allison, people who let her feel loved, who don’t judge her and take her like she is, with tattered gloves and all. And then there’s Sam of course. He goes to school with her and she works in his father’s bookshop along with him.

It was so sweet to see Willow starting to trust Sam. He was such a wonderful guy, patient and kind, giving her space and letting Willow deal with her past at her own pace. He just wants to be there for her, he’s never pushy and does everything he can to make her feel comfortable around him. Yes, maybe not the patience a 16-year old boy would have in reality but I was happy with this fairy tale.

He was the kind of handsome that transcended style and and generations.

It wasn’t his clothes or the way he cut his hair. It was the feeling you got in the pit of your stomach when he looked at you with those dark green eyes.

The feeling that you were something more than ordinary.

Ever so slowly she opens up to him. I don’t think it’s so easy to write about closed off characters who literally created a distance between their own person and the rest of the world but here you feel them growing towards each other and you feel their strong connection. All you can still hope for then is a happy ending…

… it seemed anything was possible if you’re brave enough to try.

This novel is perfect for fans of Colleen Hoover and Kasie West. Highly recommended!

I received a free copy of this novel from the publicist in exchange for my honest opinion.

Hitman’s Baby (Mob City book 2)

Hitman's Baby def

What’s it about?

I didn’t tell Roman we had a son. I didn’t know.

Roman

This town was going to sh*t long before I got here. Alexandria’s the kind of place that attracts the scum of the earth – people like me. It’s a real mob city. The only person doing a damn thing to turn it round was Ellie. But I barely met her before her abusive ex stole her away – and left her in a coma.

I’ll remember the night we shared until my dying day. Fate snatched her away from me once, but this time I’m not giving him a say. Ellie’s been hurt more in her life than anyone I’ve ever met. So when Victor Antonov put a hit out on her, I knew I had to stop it. I had to save her. Victor’s about to find out what happens when you threaten the woman I love.

I’m going to make him pay.

Ellie

I don’t remember what happiness feels like.

Four years with Rick saw to that. When the police locked him away, Roman showed me how to feel again, how to hope – and how a man should treat his lady. And then Rick broke out of jail. Seeing him in that dark alleyway was the last thing I remember. And I forgot. I forgot everything: love, and hope – and even Roman himself.

Now my life’s in the balance, and every gangster in Alexandria is hunting for me. There’s only one man on my side, a killer called Roman. He stirs something inside me, and every time I see him, my body aches. It’s trying to tell me something, trying to reveal a secret…

I just don’t know what.

Please note, this book contains scenes of violence (not between the hero/heroine!) A proportion of profits will be split between two national domestic violence charities.

You can buy a copy of this book on Amazon UK / Amazon US.

Review

5_Star_Rating_System_2_stars_1457015465_81_246_96_2

This is the second book in the Mob City series but can be read as a standalone.

This is the first novel I read by Holly Hart and I’m going to come out with it straight away, it wasn’t really my thing. It happens. The biggest deal breaker for me was that I missed some reality and believability. Let me start with this: if you were chased by some killers, wouldn’t your first thought be why? When finally an explanation is provided, all Ellie can say is oh well, this explains why. For being such a great investigative reporter (which she actually remembers being), she really doesn’t feel the impulse for a little digging into the matter and just lets it come over her.

There were a couple of other things that I had a strife with. One of them is Ellie’s character in fact. I felt it a bridge too far that she goes from being a punching bag for Rick to being a true heroine, not afraid to go pick a fight with the bad guys (although she should know by now that she can’t win these fights). Moreover, if there are two people in the world who would have trust issues, it should be Ellie and Roman, yet they put their blind faith into the good intentions of a stranger like it’s nothing.

Then there were some things that didn’t correlate: if someone was kidnapped in the hospital, wouldn’t the police be involved and investigate this? Why did the bad guys do a kidnapping at all if she wasn’t meant to wake up? And why does it say in the blurb that her body is trying to tell a secret and does it say first that she had a son? I felt that should have been a surprise.

Anyway, it did have some great qualities too, my favorite part of the book was definitely the beginning where I could read about Ellie’s struggle with Rick, and what I liked very much too was the fact that the cover of this book suggested maybe otherwise but I was happy there was just a smut scene or 2 which didn’t take pages on end like in some other books. Maybe I’m just used to books with a huge amount of accuracy and detail. If that’s the thing, you should hold out on this one. If you like just the whole bad boy and mobster scene setting, you might find this to your liking.

I received a free copy of this novel from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

Desperately Seeking Epic

Desperately Seeking Epic

Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2

What’s it about?

Paul James loved Clara Bateman. Hating her would have been easier. She was the past, and he was hell-bent on keeping her there. Or so he thought…

Craigslist Ad: DESPERATELY SEEKING EPIC

You’re my father.I don’t know much about you. I know your name is Paul James, you’re a thrill seeker, and once upon a time you did stunts and people called you ‘Epic.’ I’ve been told you don’t know about me. That it’s complicated. But for me it’s simple. Here’s the thing: I’m twelve years old…and I’m dying. And as much as this could crush my mother, I have to meet you before I go. In time, I’m sure she’ll understand. She’s still in love with you. So, Epic, if you read this, please come back. You don’t have to be my dad. You don’t even have to tell me you love me or you’re sorry. Just come see me.

Patiently waiting, but running out of time,

Neena

You can buy a copy of this book on AmazonUS / AmazonUK.

Review

I did good. I did so good, right until I got to the end. I seriously thought the story would not affect me this time, but this book can be added to the ugly cry-list. Not that I cried, but I did feel overwhelmed by emotion towards the ending.

B.N. Toler made a great impression with her characters and I don’t even know which one I like best. It’s not Paul James however, he did too many wrongs for me to trust him and forgive him entirely (being incommunicado for 13 years is one of them). Clare on the other hand is one admirable lady. Moving states, renovating a house all by herself, just because she believes it’s a shame someone gave up on it, raising a child all on her own, and then now also doing all that she can, staying strong so she can make her sick, dying child happy. She has my deepest respect.

I also really dug Marcus (employee at the skydiving business and best friend). For being such a small person (literally) he has a big personality. At the start he was quite unsympathetic, holding a grudge against Clare and all, but once he learned she was pregnant he became her closest friend. He didn’t have to love and care for her daughter Neena but he did. All these years he was there for them.

The novel starts with Neena trying to find her father before she dies, and the media picking up on it, but the story isn’t about the search for her father at all (like I initially thought) but rather about their relationship now, and I didn’t feel he was a stranger in this family. At the same time it was Neena’s dying wish that she hears her mother and father’s story of the past and she asks a high school journalist to interview and film them both. Little by little, in alternating voices, we learn how they met and their times together build up to the moment he apparently left all these years ago. Through flashbacks, each of them continuing to tell the story where the other left off.

This novel holds a laugh and a tear, it’s a romantic and heart-warming story, but it holds sadness too. Neena’s sickness is like a sword of Damocles hanging over our heads, but what surmounts this pain we will inevitably feel is how beautiful it was to get to know all these characters, to see the love they all share for each other.

Let’s Be Just Friends (free download)

Let's just be friends

Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2

What’s it about?

Rose Atwood has been in love with her best friend since she was twelve years old. The only problem is, he’s the biggest player to have ever landed on Earth. Rose has waited forever for Tyler to grow up, all the while keeping her feelings under wraps for fear of getting hurt. But after watching Tyler go through girl after girl, Rose has lost hope he’ll ever change.

Being Tyler’s best friend is becoming more difficult with every passing year and every new woman in his life—especially when the girlfriend du jour is Georgiana, a snotty, beautiful girl who’s in Law School with them and who never leaves Tyler’s side.

When Rose, dumped by her long-term boyfriend, moves temporarily into Tyler’s apartment, tension spikes. Georgiana wants Rose out of the house. Rose wants Georgiana out of Tyler’s life. And Tyler … well, he doesn’t really know what he wants.

As an unexpected argument brings Rose and Tyler closer than they’ve ever been, they must decide if there’s more to their relationship than being just friends. And they must do it quickly, as Georgiana is determined to do everything in her power to keep Tyler and Rose apart. After all, all is fair in love and war.

Will Rose make a leap of faith and trust Tyler with her heart?
Will Tyler make the right choice, or will he be too late?

You can find this FREE novel on AmazonUS / AmazonUK.

Review

This was my first book by Camilla Isley, although she has already captured my interest in the past. I’ve got at least another 2 of her books on my wishlist because those covers really caught my eye, they are so attractive (pink rules!). But I saw this one was for free so I thought I’d read this one first to see if I’d like her style and boy, do I !

Rose and Tyler have been best friends since childhood. These last years there was always some sort of attraction between them and they both thought that they’d grow old together in the end, but the timing was never right for getting together so far, until one day they both cross the friends line unexpectedly. Not willing to risk damaging their friendship Rose is clear she doesn’t want a relationship with Tyler. They try the friends with benefits thing but just when Rose thinks she might have made a mistake and maybe she should take a leap of faith, she meets Ethan at a birthday party and finds out that Tyler just won a scholarship sending him 6 months abroad with his girlfriend Georgina.

The big question is what will happen in 6 months’ time. Will Tyler leave Georgina, will Rose choose Tyler over Ethan, or has their chance at being more than friends passed?

If this was Camilla Isley’s first NA novella, she definitely has the mission accomplished with flying colors. This short story is easily read in one sitting. Let’s Be Just Friends was entertaining and enjoyable to read and I really liked that we get the views from the three main characters. Rose, Tyler and Ethan’s voices alternate in short chapters but she does it really well, there is never any confusion whose voice we’re hearing. I did feel quite a few different ways about Tyler throughout the story, going from really liking him at the start, to not sympathising at all in the middle and back again in the end. Ultimately I felt sorry for him that Georgina managed to have him in her hold like that. I would’ve tweaked the ending a little to satisfy my own wishes but I get it, I really do. It’s not good for my heart though, with two handsome and good-natured boys and knowing one of them will not end up with her by his side.

After finishing this, I can honestly say that I want to find out what more she has in store. I really want to read another book from this author.